“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it”.(Proverbs 22:6 NIV).
“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him” (Deuteronomy 11:18-22).
Raising healthy and self-disciplined children who love God and their neighbours is one of the most challenging responsibilities in life. Not even rocket science can approach it for complexity and unpredictability. It is even more difficult today when the culture undermines and contradicts everything Christian parents are trying to accomplish at home. The good news is that we are not required to be perfect moms and dads. Children sometimes survive our mistakes and failures and turn out better than we have any right to boast about.
Most of the prevalent fears faced by parents today about their inadequacy as moms and dads include:
- They have failed their children
- They are not the models they should be to their children
- They don’t know how to cope with their children’s problems
- They are not able to make their children feel secure and loved
- Being overwhelmed by the responsibility of it all
- They are unable to relate to their children
- They feel it is too late to go back and do it right
- They have lost the confidence in their ability to be a parent.
The key to good parenting is to learn how to get behind the eyes of your child and see and feel what he or she sees and feels. Your response to their situation is obvious when you know their frame of mind. Raising healthy children is not so much a science as it is a highly developed art and most parents have the natural intuitive faculties to learn it. Parents need to observe their children and tune in to what they say or do and they will understand the feelings behind behaviours. This will make the parents more confident to their job.
Regardless of your parenting situation, you can erase “control” from your job description and add “validate and nurture.” While you’re at it, don’t forget all that fine print about, teaching spiritual values, disciplining, encouraging, saying no at times and yes at others, setting boundaries and repeating all this as needed. Children are neither born holy nor come into the world with heart bent towards obedience. They need to be taught. Training must be intentional, deliberate and planned with a healthy dose of patience.
Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude